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Journals from Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies

2009-12-29 Granada

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La Alhambra

Hola! To give you all an idea of some of the trips we took this semester, I decided Id write a blog post about one of the trips I took this semester. At CC-CS we dont have school on Fridays, which has given us opportunities to either travel or get to spend time exploring Sevilla. One of my favorite trips this semester was to Granada, which is also in Andalucia (southern province of Spain). Granada was the last city under the rule of Arab Moors, and it fell to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, the year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue. It is in the southeastern part of Spain, near the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Granada is a neat city, with winding narrow streets, many of which are uphill, and beautiful views of the mountains nearby. I stayed in a hostel for 2 days with Fatima and the group of friends that we were traveling with. We spent about 5 hours the first day in La Alhambra, which is a famous castle complex originally built in the 9th century. It used to be a Muslim military fortress, but was eventually used as the Muslim kings' home in Granada. It's name comes from two Arabic root words that mean red castle, so named because the walls and towers were a reddish color. In the Alhambra there are a few beautiful and very detailed palaces, towers to climb with amazing views of all of Granada and the mountains, and beautiful gardens with bright flowers everywhere. One of the first places we visited inside it was the Palacio de los Nazareitos, which was a royal house. The rooms were decorated with tiles and extremely detailed stucco and ceramic work. We were also in the room where Boabdil, the last Muslim king in Granada decided to hand over the keys of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs. To stand there and realize that something with that much historical significance happened in the very room we were standing in was incredible. One of my other favorite parts of the Alhambra was the Generalife, which was a huge garden area outside of the palaces. It was absolutely beautiful! The flowers were in every color possible: bright orange, cheery yellow, deep pinks, light and dark purple, and many different shades of roses! The shrubbery was really neat too. It was pruned and trimmed in many different patterns. One of the last places we went to was the tallest tower in the Alcazaba, which is the oldest part of the Alhambra. It is called the Torre de la Vela (Watch-tower). It is the most distinguishable because it is the tallest and has a bell at the top, along with several flags. From the walls of the tower we could see all of Granada spread out before our eyes. On our second day in Granada, we joined a free walking tour led by this really energetic, funny English man. He knew a lot of interesting facts about the city and the history there. It was a fun tour and we got to see a lot that we wouldn't have seen on our own. We even walked up into the hills a bit and saw all of the houses that people had built out of caves. All in all, that trip was one of my favorites, and it was really neat to be able to see a different city in Spain and to learn about its history and culture. -Sierra Stopper

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